Critter of the Week: Juramaia

Meet Maya.  She’s a sweet little fuzzball who loves nothing more than to curl up in your pocket.  At least during the day.  When the sun goes down, that’s when the party starts!

Maya update

Wait a second…what’s a squirrel doing in a dinosaur book?  Well I’m glad you asked.  So far, her kind is the first mammal discovered that nourishes her babies in utero with a placenta.  A placental mammal.  This is unique from marsupials like kangaroos, or egg laying monotremes like platypus.  🙂

My little girl keeps calling Maya a squirrel (she’s 2 🙂 ), but she’s a bit more like a tree shrew.  Little Maya has sharp little teeth that are great for just about anything she can get her paws on, but bugs are her favorite.  That slender nose helps her sniff them out in the dark.  She has long arms and sharp claws that make her completely at home in the tree tops.

When you’re the size of a squirrel it’s good to be out of reach of giant dinosaurs!

If you want to learn more, here’s a great news article with a picture of the beautiful fossil. It even has fur!

Making progress…

Maya finally got a bit of an update.  I had to improvise, since I couldn’t find the original file anywhere.  So I just copied her picture here on the site, cleaned it up, added some highlights and shadows, and voila!  Update a success! 😀

Here’s the original, just for comparison.  Not too many changes, but I think it’s an improvement. 😀


In other news…I’m making progress on my storyboard. 🙂

What is a storyboard for?

  • get an idea on which illustrations go where
  • see how the illustrations enhance the words (easier if you’re doing both, like I am.  Not sure how that works for separate writers and illustrators)
  • get a feel for the “pacing” of the story.  Similar to how storyboarding works for a movie.  A nice balance of calm, empty space and busy detail.
  • find out exactly what I need to research for the final illustrations.

So keep in mind that these are super rough, illustrations of general ideas and nowhere near complete.  Basic shapes, rough outlines of what goes where…aside from thumbnails, this is about as rough as it gets. 🙂

First up is the cover.  I’d like to have another dinosaur in there somewhere, preferably big and not a long-necked sauropod, but I’m having trouble seeing where it would go.  Maybe I should substitute a stegosaurus on the right there, where the brachiosaurus is, and the flying dinosaur could just move up to fill in that upper right corner.  Might be good for the flyer (an archaeopteryx) to be obviously noisy. 😀

Not sure.  But that’s what this stage is for.  Brainstorming and figuring out what would be best to tell the story. 🙂

Front cover

I’m still missing the title page spread, the 1st spread, the playtime pages for the flyers and giants, and the final few pages for the end of the book.

Oh yes, and the endpages. 🙂  Not quite sure what I’ll do with those…but that’s for another day. 😀

Coming Next Week…

This little critter may have a rough, pebbly outside, but she’s all soft gooey lovins on the inside. 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! She’ll be one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Juramaia

  1. So far, so good! Ah, yeah, the cover looks better. 🙂 Nice and dinosaur-ey, and the illustration matches up with the title. I feel like Tango might attract a bit too much attention if he were to fill in the empty space, but maybe not. Have you considered having the long-necked dinosaur’s tail fill in the empty space? xD It might look a bit strange, and probably wouldn’t work out too well, but I thought I might mention it.

    And yay, Maya finally got an update! 😀


    1. Hi Brownie, thank you for dropping by!

      I didn’t really think of the tail. I thought it might look odd, but it’s worth a try. 🙂

      I’ll have to sketch out a few options and see how it looks.


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